The challenges were many for the Jets offense during the 2023 NFL season -- beginning, of course, with the injury to QB Aaron Rodgers four snaps into the Week 1 game against Buffalo. Add the constant shuffle on the offensive line and a receiving corps that played with four different quarterbacks.
The lack of continuity did little to unleash a new scheme on offense brought along to the Green & White by offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who worked so successfully with Rodgers when the two were with the Green Bay Packers.
"Our personalities mesh, he's a very positive person," Rodgers said on a recent edition of "The Official Jets Podcast," in describing his relationship with Hackett. "He's in love with the game and treats people the right way. He's an effective OC, but this year was not a great example of what the offense can look like. It was stripped down pretty heavily, there were things we weren't able to do based on personnel, based on comfort in the system.
"In 2019 [with the Packers], we had a pedestrian year. We took a good look at the offense in the offseason, myself, [HC] Matt [Lafleur] and Hack, and came back with a 2020 [and 2021] MVP season. I had an incredible number of TDs , incredible in the red zone (80%) and on third down (49%). We have to look at the stuff we did those years."
This past season, when the Jets duplicated their 7-10 record from the 2022 season, the team scored the fewest TDs (22) among the 32 NFL teams, had the fewest TD receptions (11), were tied with two other teams for the fewest rushing TDs (7) and scored the third-fewest points (268).
"When you haven't seen it done before, you have no reference point," Rodgers said. "If you can't see the difference between a quarterback who can run a system and a quarterback who can be the system, it's a different product. When you can become the system, it does change things. If you saw us in camp, you saw that system, OTAs, the last three weeks of practice [after Rodgers returned from Injured Reserve], that's why you'd have confidence in me being able to run the system and Hack being able to have the right guys to lead the system."
Trevor Siemian: 'This Thing's Going in the Right Direction'
Regardless of what the future brings for QB Trevor Siemian, the veteran journeyman is certain of one thing.
"There's no doubt in my mind this thing's going in the right direction," Siemian said in the hours after piloting the Jets to the season-ending 17-3 win at New England. "We got the players, got the staff, onward and upward for sure."
Siemian, 32, became the Jets' fourth starting quarterback of the 2023 season, in Week 16 against Washington. In that game, he completed 27-of-49 pass attempts for 217 yards, a TD and an interception in the 30–28 win. It was Siemian's first win as a starter since 2017, when he was with Denver.
This season was Siemian's second go-round with the Jets after he started one game in 2019 before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury. He was back with the Green & White, and with a new coaching regime and group of players, after being signed to the practice squad on Sept. 26, then elevated to the active roster on Nov. 21.
"Any time leadership changes, you see some subtle differences in style and things like that," Siemian said. "I've really enjoyed seeing some of the guys -- Thomas [Hennessy], Quinnen [Williams] was a rookie, C.J. Mosley was in his first year here so it's cool coming back seeing those guys." He added: "I think it's the culture, the culture in the locker room. It's there and the players are there so hopefully we can stay healthy, that's what it's all about."
With Zach Wilson in the concussion protocol, Siemian started the final three games of the season, winning two -- including the snowglobe game at Foxborough that ended the Jets' 15-game losing streak against the Patriots.
"As a backup quarterback you spend 95 percent of your time not playing usually, so I cherish the times I get to step on the field, that's what it's about," he said. "I'm pretty critical of myself and I'd say I wish I could do some things better, certainly."
Over his five games played (three starts) Siemian completed 86-of-153 passes (56.2%) for 724 yards, 2 TDs and an INT
"Once I have a chance to digest everything, I'll be prouder of some of the things I did and finding a way to get two wins here at the end ... so some good, some bad, just like every other time you're out there," he said.